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State parks draw thousands of visitors each year. Now, those visitors may soon include hunters as the result of a new proposal.
Its all because of a proposal called the Sporting Heritage Bill that was signed into law last Spring. It will allow for hunting and trapping to happen on all state park properties across Wisconsin, between October 15th and the Thursday before Memorial Day.
The idea is to utilize lands that have had little or no hunting in decades. The proposal includes state parks, including Rib Mountain, beginning on January 1st 2013.
Rib Mountain State Park Property Manager, William Bursaw says it’s something park managers across the state have been working on for quite sometime. "The State Park Bureau has been tasked to develop maps taking the current use maps and identify areas where we could open up additional hunting opportunities."
The hunt allows for hunting and trapping of all animals that are in season throughout the year.
Some people say it’s a bad idea, including The Friends of Rib Mountain, a group dedicated to the well-being of the state park.
Karen Graff says the new law would be hazardous for all who visit the park. “We believe that this park is a small urban park surrounded by residents with schools close by. This park is not an appropriate park to have gun hunting." She went on to say that the high powered rifles many hunters would use would travel too far.
Graff says that as a hunter herself, she understands the appeal, but safety needs to be the priority.
More than 242,000 people have visited Rib Mountain State Park between January and the end of September.
If you would like to have your voice heard on this issue, there are five listening sessions happening in the next few weeks. The first is November 5th at Merrill High School.
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